Sewer, Electrical System to Blame for Infrastructure Freeze

3 years 10 months 3 days ago Monday, March 17 2014 Mar 17, 2014 Monday, March 17, 2014 8:40:00 PM CDT March 17, 2014 in News
By: Nicole Neidenberg, KOMU 8 Reporter
loading

COLUMBIA - More than 3,000 residents moved downtown in the last three years and City Manager Mike Matthes said that's unexpected for any city this size.

"That's unprecedented growth in our history. A lot more electricity needed, a lot more sewage produced, so right now were kind of maxed out in that regard," Matthes said.

Jack Downing adds to the influx of people downtown and said the location is ideal. Downing's apartment complex on South Ninth Street was sold to another proprietor earlier this year with the possibility of being demolished due to poor infrastructure.

"When I first moved in three years ago, I noticed hearing water running from our bathroom and didn't really know what was going on until we looked under the lid and we saw that it was just continuously running water," Downing said.

According to Matthes, the sewage system is one major problem downtown currently. The city is moving toward a "smart growth philosophy," encouraging people to bring density downtown, re-develop instead of greenfield development. However Matthes said, "We have to look at each project and say does this need electricity, will it produce sewage and if it does the end answer is no, you can't build."

Downing's apartment complex was built more than eighty years ago and uses 10 gallons every time the toilet is flushed, according to an inspection done by the city. Newer toilets typically use only one gallon. The project to replace these apartments was approved because it will result in less sewage being produced. On the other hand, Mattes says a new 20-story building downtown, "is a giant increase in the amount of sewage produced and a giant increase in amount of power over using that land today, so that's one we have to say no to right now."

Downing said he's uncertain with the city's decision on the downtown infrastructure freeze.

"With the new business and influx of people your kind of torn because you don't want the city to do anything that they shouldn't be doing with the water system, but at the same time you kind of want them to keep building up downtown," Downing said.

One setback Columbia's sewer system is having is too much rain getting into the sewer pipes, which can only handle so much pressure. "It begins to shoot up and then we have raw sewage running into the creeks, down the streets and into people's basement," Matthes added.

In the 1930s, sewer pipes were made out of cardboard, which still linger underground, but while the city is replacing the cardboard pipes, the brick pipes are leaking and causing more damage. Matthes said the cheapest solution in fixing the pipes is to reline with concrete epoxy, which is stronger than concrete and can dry in damp environments. The city said it's doing that now.

"We have some brick sewers that are over 100 years old, downtown's main trunk line," Matthes said. "It's brick so there's mortar and that doesn't stand up over time either and those are the kind of things we want to get into and reline or replace."

Currently, there is $1.6 million of cash in reserves the city could put toward improving the sewer system. Matthes said to complete the necessary sewer work downtown the city will need an additional $12 million. This money would have come from a proposed tax increment financing district, or TIF. The TIF was proposed at the city council meeting on March 4, 2014, but it did not pass.

Another problem associated with adding unprecedented growth in a short amount of time is supplying enough electricity. Utility services specialist, Connie Kacprowicz said more people equals more power.

"During last budget year we made a plan to add an additional feeder line, which will bring in additional electricity to the downtown area from the Rebel Hill substation," Kacprowicz said.

Right now, Columbia's downtown district gets all of its electricity through the power plant on Business Loop 70, but since the Rebel Hill substation on St. Charles Road has a free circuit, one line will be used to help generate downtown bringing in seven more megawatts.

"That line is going to be using some of the existing infrastructure. The cost of that is $1 million and that was budgeted for the fiscal year 2013, so that project is currently underway," Kacprowicz said.

That $1 million is generated not by taxes, but by electricity bills. The difference between the electric system and the sewer system is the electric system is all interconnected.

Eight different substations generate Columbia's electricity. A substation transforms voltage from high to low, or the reverse. Electric power can flow at any given time through several substations at different voltage levels with the end product supplying electricity to homes and businesses.

"If we see a line go down or more electric use in one area, we can usually re-route that power and make sure it gets to that area, so when your looking at an electric system it's really only as strong as its weakest link," Kacprowicz said. "We're constantly looking at the electric load to see where the electricity is being used and how much is being used."

To ensure transferring one line to another circuit or bringing in a new circuit Kacprowicz said an electric system should never be running at 100 percent for flexibility purposes.

With the changes to come downtown Downing said he hopes it's for the best.

"We love living where we do here. So as long as it's within the city regulations with water use or electricity, we love to see the new stuff come up," Downing added.

More News

Grid
List
COLUMBIA - Deputies booked two men into the Boone County Jail on suspicion of various charges, including an apparent plan... More >>
4 hours ago Thursday, January 18 2018 Jan 18, 2018 Thursday, January 18, 2018 10:45:00 PM CST January 18, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA – Some students were “striving” for a new learning experience Thursday night. Parents of students with autism gathered... More >>
8 hours ago Thursday, January 18 2018 Jan 18, 2018 Thursday, January 18, 2018 7:22:00 PM CST January 18, 2018 in News
FULTON - The Callaway County Sheriff’s Office is using more than $16,000 seized during a 2013 drug investigation for a... More >>
8 hours ago Thursday, January 18 2018 Jan 18, 2018 Thursday, January 18, 2018 7:08:00 PM CST January 18, 2018 in News
JEFFERSON CITY (AP) — Several department directors for Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens have finally won Senate confirmation for their... More >>
10 hours ago Thursday, January 18 2018 Jan 18, 2018 Thursday, January 18, 2018 5:01:08 PM CST January 18, 2018 in News
ST. LOUIS (AP) — Amazon has announced its list of 20 cities for a second headquarters, and both big... More >>
10 hours ago Thursday, January 18 2018 Jan 18, 2018 Thursday, January 18, 2018 4:57:51 PM CST January 18, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA- State-of-the-art technology is coming to the Columbia Fire Department, and improving many facets that help firefighters do their jobs.... More >>
11 hours ago Thursday, January 18 2018 Jan 18, 2018 Thursday, January 18, 2018 4:31:00 PM CST January 18, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA – This season’s frigid temperatures mean a rise in frozen pipes around the city. Lucia Bourgeois, communications specialist... More >>
11 hours ago Thursday, January 18 2018 Jan 18, 2018 Thursday, January 18, 2018 3:48:00 PM CST January 18, 2018 in News
MACON - Crews tore down a 100-year-old piece of Macon's history Thursday. Four years ago, courts condemned the old Macon... More >>
13 hours ago Thursday, January 18 2018 Jan 18, 2018 Thursday, January 18, 2018 2:07:00 PM CST January 18, 2018 in Top Stories
JEFFERSON CITY - Governor Eric Greitens released an outline of his plan for state tax reform on Thursday. The outline... More >>
14 hours ago Thursday, January 18 2018 Jan 18, 2018 Thursday, January 18, 2018 1:28:00 PM CST January 18, 2018 in News
CAMDEN COUNTY - A former sheriff's deputy already facing charges of child pornography and child molestation faces more charges in... More >>
14 hours ago Thursday, January 18 2018 Jan 18, 2018 Thursday, January 18, 2018 12:47:00 PM CST January 18, 2018 in Top Stories
MONTGOMERY COUNTY - One man was hospitalized after a car driving the wrong way crashed into his vehicle, according to... More >>
15 hours ago Thursday, January 18 2018 Jan 18, 2018 Thursday, January 18, 2018 12:37:00 PM CST January 18, 2018 in News
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (AP) — A Missouri Department of Corrections employee is charged with using a hidden camera to film... More >>
19 hours ago Thursday, January 18 2018 Jan 18, 2018 Thursday, January 18, 2018 8:14:00 AM CST January 18, 2018 in News
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — A northwest Missouri lawmaker has donated a kidney as part of a transplant chain to... More >>
19 hours ago Thursday, January 18 2018 Jan 18, 2018 Thursday, January 18, 2018 8:00:00 AM CST January 18, 2018 in News
JEFFERSON CITY (AP) — Missouri's unemployment rate has edged up slightly. Data released Wednesday by the state Department... More >>
1 day ago Wednesday, January 17 2018 Jan 17, 2018 Wednesday, January 17, 2018 7:26:31 PM CST January 17, 2018 in News
JEFFERSON CITY (AP) — Citing new testimony from a state school board member, a Springfield teacher is asking a... More >>
1 day ago Wednesday, January 17 2018 Jan 17, 2018 Wednesday, January 17, 2018 7:22:00 PM CST January 17, 2018 in News
JEFFERSON CITY (AP) — Professional hair braiders would face fewer regulations under a bill passed by the Missouri House.... More >>
1 day ago Wednesday, January 17 2018 Jan 17, 2018 Wednesday, January 17, 2018 7:15:17 PM CST January 17, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - Some Special Olympics athletes are ready for prom after choosing their perfect dress from more than 100 that... More >>
1 day ago Wednesday, January 17 2018 Jan 17, 2018 Wednesday, January 17, 2018 7:04:00 PM CST January 17, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - The next step in construction of a new middle school in Columbia is a public vote scheduled for... More >>
1 day ago Wednesday, January 17 2018 Jan 17, 2018 Wednesday, January 17, 2018 7:00:00 PM CST January 17, 2018 in News
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 31°
4am 28°
5am 27°
6am 26°
7am 25°

Select a station to view its upcoming schedule:

Coming Up Next

3:30a
Early Today
4:00a
Early Today
4:30a
KOMU 8 News Today
3:30a
Paid Program
4:00a
Paid Program
4:30a
Paid Program

Tonight's Schedule

7:00p
Blindspot
8:00p
Taken
9:00p
Dateline NBC
7:00p
Black Lightning
8:00p
Penn & Teller: Fool Us
9:00p
KOMU 8 News @ Nine on The CW
9:30p
Seinfeld